Shall We Dance, Mummy? Shows to Take Your Kids to Over Hanukkah

Heart-warming, delightful dance performances in all styles and rhythms, created especially for children, are being staged by the best troupes this month.

Courtesy of Emanuel Ogdan

Over the last few years the dance scene in Israel has been flourishing with creativity, and most troupes include in their repertoires productions specifically designed for children. These guarantee a rich experience of movement and acrobatics, music and rhythm, and engaging adventure stories amid colorful stages. Here are some recommended performances for children to be staged in December.

‘The Nutcracker’

On Hanukkah, the Israel Ballet is staging a gigantic production of “The Nutcracker” suite, one of the icons of classical ballet, in a version designed for families. The captivating story is told to the magnificent music of Tchaikovsky, along with unforgettable dances, such as the legendary “Waltz of the Flowers.” The Israel Ballet production guarantees pure enjoyment for children and adults alike: impressive stage choreography, magnificent costumes and masks, many white-clad ballerinas and even pupils from the company’s ballet school who were chosen to dance with the professionals.

Thursday, December 18, at 16.00 and 18.30, Smolarz Auditorium, Tel Aviv University. For schedule, see www.iballet.co.il

‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’

This is an original adaptation by COMPAS, the Israeli Flamenco Dance Company. It is inspired by the famous Grimm brothers tale, but contains a twist to the plot – Snow White is a cleaner in the palace of the wicked queen, who happens to be the Prince’s mother. The concept is one developed by the Flamenco company, in which dance numbers are intertwined with acting. The scenes are colorful and meticulously staged, and the dancing of the dwarfs is particularly noteworthy, having been planned creatively, with character and abundant humor. The soundtrack is a feast for the ears and blends flamenco with classical music, pieces from musicals and even current hits. An added bonus: at the end, the kids are invited on stage, where they can experience clapping and stomping flamenco-style, coached by one of the group’s dancers.

Saturday, December 27, 11.30, Suzanne Dellal Center, Tel Aviv; for ages 4+. Tickets: NIS 70

‘Dorothy in the Land of Oz’

Yoram Karmi’s dance group, Fresco, in collaboration with the Theater for Children and Youth, is staging a new dance production, based on L. Frank Baum’s book “The Wizard of Oz.” As in his previous productions for children, here too Karmi pays meticulous attention to detail: the plot flows easily, the costumes and props are colorful and dazzling, and the animation adds a creative touch to the entire experience. The choreography is polished and meticulous, performed marvellously. As always, one can trust Karmi to connect the young audience to the music of Stravinsky, Beethoven and others.

Tuesday, December 16, 16.00, Givat Ze’ev community center; for ages 4 to 10.

‘Goldfish’

Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’s Dance Company created a magical dance-theater production that converts mundane everyday details into new worlds filled with imagination, humor and poetry. The performance’s uniqueness lies in the exceptional amalgamation of theatrical dancing and beautiful choreography and costumes. This creates a stage world that is sufficiently accessible to children, yet strange enough to evoke their curiosity: a wardrobe that turns out to be a magic chest, a routine act of drinking tea transformed into a dance. There is also a gathering of strange characters: a girl tethered to a coat hanger, a dancing doll from an old music box and the captivating character, played by Yossi Pollak, who manages to amaze with the sounds he produces out of his mouth. Pinto and Pollak’s creation offers a different and sometimes challenging visual experience, which is so hypnotizing and of high quality that one cannot remain indifferent.

Saturday, December 27, 11.00, Suzanne Dellal Center, Tel Aviv; for ages 5+. Tickets: NIS 80

‘Deca’le’

The Batsheva Dance Company is offering a performance for the whole family, based on excerpts from works by artistic director Ohad Naharin, such as “Wall,” “Flood,” “Virus,” “Three” and others. This performance was not specifically put together for children, but it allows the little ones to relate to what dancing does best – speaking through bodily motion. It works, because the dancers exhibit great technical virtuosity that not only elicits wonder but also evokes emotion and is significant to young viewers. The choice of pieces was made wisely: for example, the iconic dance “Echad Mi Yodea,” based on the traditional Passover song, gives children particular pleasure due to its rhythmic execution to a tune they are all familiar with. The highlight of the performance is one of the amazing sequences from the company’s famed “Anaphaza,” during which dancers come offstage to invite members of the audience to join in.

Monday, December 15, 17.30, Center for the Arts, Yifat Culture Hall, Kibbutz Mizra (04) 604-0575. Tickets: NIS 80-110.

 

‘The Dream is a Great Painter’

A theatrical dance performance by the Noa Dar Dance Group to Lea Goldberg’s songs for children in a refreshing and surprising manner. These include “Why did the child laugh while dreaming?”; “The magic hat”; “The bad child” and others. The performance is led by Gad, the boy who features in the song “I’m alone in the house” – he refused to put on a coat and was punished by being left at home. While his mother is away, sounds from outside and fragments of memories fill his imagination and keep him company. The images from Goldberg’s songs are created on stage through movement, acting and costumes. They become accessible to the young spectators by virtue of a free and creative approach, full of fun and humor, which never comes at the expense of professionalism and meticulous execution by the dancers. Especially notable is the original score and songs by Israel Brait, which guarantee pure enjoyment: the parents wax nostalgic over iconic Israeli songs, while the children are swept merrily along by familiar and beloved tunes.

Tuesday, December 22, 11.30, 17.30; Suzanne Dellal Center, Tel Aviv; for ages 4-10. NIS 75